The Planet Marbella Summer Survival Guide

As the summer silly season hits its height over the next few weeks, stay cool with Planet Marbella's suggestions to avoid the madding, not to mention maddening crowds

“Summertime and the living is easy” – and while this may have been true for Janis Joplin (and after her usual two bottles of Jack Daniels she normally was pretty easy) for those of us living on the Coast the days from now until September 1 are a Hawaiian-Tropic drenched assault course.

I have to use my razor-sharp elbow technique and the dark cunning of the French Rugby front row to get to the bar at my favourite watering holes, the supermarkets are full of English tourists who think that Bimbo bread is the funniest thing that they’ve ever seen and that the checkout girl is trying to short change them because they’ve never seen a Euro before, and getting around is more fun than usual because trying to get a taxi is like trying to get on the last helicopter out of Saigon.

Meanwhile the good citizens of Madrid descend on the roads, indulging in their favourite trick of driving very slowly and then suddenly stopping, turning left without indicating or a combination of both.

And just to add a little spice to the mixture is the usual rag-tag convoy of dog-tired Moroccans trying to make the ferry to Algeciras and who have usually been driving for 36 hours nonstop in beaten up Peugeots with the extended family in the back, what looks like the contents of the house on the roof and the granny stuffed muttering in there somewhere as well.

As an old hand at surviving the summer in Marbella, here are a few tips that I have found invaluable.

Stay at Home

Even though I live in a cottage on a lake, I never normally subscribe to the trendy mantra that staying in is the new going out. But during summer it can help to “go a little Garbo” and give free rein to your reclusive side.

Don’t move further than the fridge, TV or pool. Catch up on your reading, sit through that boxed set of “Game of Thrones”, download those long forgotten CDs to your iPod, try and conquer the latest games on your games console or cultivate your culinary side by becoming a BBQ master. It’s a great excuse to throw on a silly apron, get a couple of mates over and throw some shrimps on the Barbie.

Who knows? Getting out in the fresh air might bring out the hidden horticulturalist in you and see you trying to recreate the glorious gardens of the Alhambra in Granada. Failing that, invest in a large pitcher of Margaritas or jug of Pimms, head to the nearest sun lounger and let it all wash over you…

Go to a Gallery

If the thought of lying on a sun lounger reading the latest airport blockbuster fills you with dread, fear not. Marbella has more than enough air conditioned art galleries for culture vultures. These include the Museo Miraflores and the Museo de Grabado housed in the old hospital in the old town that hosts an outstanding collection of contemporary Spanish engravings. Check out the Museo Ralli next to the Coral Beach Hotel as well, that houses a large and fascinating collection of contemporary South American art, as well as work s by Dali and Chagall. It has great air con too!

Hit the Hills

While the rest of Spain is sweltering on the beaches, why not head inland and discover some of Andalucía’s most beautiful towns and villages? Ronda is a firm favourite, with great bars and restaurants and the dramatic Tajo gorge and bridge spanning it. The blue Smurf village of Juzcar just off the Ronda road is certainly different, while the village of Benojan is home to the renowned hotel and restaurant Molino del Santo.

If speed is your thing, check out Andalucía’s largest go-kart track at Campillos or Spain’s lake district with the fabulous lakes and climbing of El Chorro, home to the newly opened walkway, El Camino del Rey. And if you just fancy a little history, try Antequera, located dead centre in the heart of Andalucía, which has more churches and chapels per square metre than any other town in Spain and the famous “Indian’s Head Rock” where legend has it that a pair of doomed lovers, one Christian, one Muslim, leapt to their deaths.

So if you are looking for something other than sun, sand and sangria, take our tips and keep your sanity this summer!

Bullfighting protests continue

In the latest in a growing number of anti-bullfighting protests Marbella-based animal activist Virginia Ruiz leapt into the Malagueta bullring on Friday to comfort a dying bull.

Ruiz ran between the bullfighter and the stricken animal, despite having insults thrown at her and being spat on by the crowd.

She was eventually led away from the ring and the bull was killed.

Although entrance to the Malaga Bullring was free on Friday, video taken at the event show a sparce crowd at the Malagueta, a sign that bullfighting is no longer popular amongst modern Spaniards.


The Marbella anti-bullfighting group also announced yesterday that it is taking legal action against the bullfighter Morante for his violent conduct against a protester in the Marbella Bullring last Sunday


Marbella outlines LGBT diversity plan

Marbella Town Hall has announced that it will  develop an "innovative and ambitious" plan of LGBT diversity.

Different municipal offices will work together to ensure the rights and well-being of lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexuals in the municipality.

At a press conference mayor of Marbella, José Bernal,  said that the plan was based on the principle of equality and would  be co-ordinated by the Department of Equality and Diversity under Ana Leschiera, but with the participation of other municipal areas.

Councillor Ana Leschiera added that it was a living plan that would have the collaboration of different associations and was based on twelve areas of action.

These include prevention, which is based largely on awareness workshops and culture, as well as addressing LGBT issues in sport and tourism.

Marbella Town Hall will be holding a series of events and campaigns highlighting the work of LGBT individuals, associations and movements in the next few months.

It's Not Funny

The giant inflatable Coke can has been one of the most recognisable images in Marbella, and its go karting track has inspired the dreams of thousands of would be Fernando Alonsos over three decades, but yesterday Marbella Town Hall closed one of the most popular beaches for families when it locked the gates of Funny Beach.

Marbella Town Hall claims that owner Horacio Helmann has been violating planning laws since Funny Beach opened in 1990. The go kart track was deemed illegal on what is green zoned land, and Funny Beach had been allowed to operate on a temporary licence since then by previous town hall administrations.

Yesterday's closure left eight Funny Beach employees out of work at the height of the summer and hundreds of children, who had come for a day of go karting, dissapointed.

The Town Hall may be following the letter of the law on closing Funny Beach due to it using tempoarary licences, but closing a well know family friendly beach club, popular with both locals and tourists alike has already proved an unpopular move. Especially when you consider the loud music, and drunken stag and hen and champagne spraying parties that are allowed at other beach clubs.

For a Marbella Town Hall that wants to draw attention away from the TOWIE and Life on Marbs crowd and promote more family friendly locations, closing Funny Beach seems a strange decision.

Planet Marbella makes the small screen!

Marbella's TV station, RTV, will be running an interview with Planet Marbella this Thursday!

Nicole King, the bubbly host of RTV's Marbella Now programme, interviewed Planet Marbella founder Giles Brown at the Grand Melia Don Pepe Hotel earlier in the week.

In the interview Giles talks about the idea behind Planet Marbella, as well as discussing a number of issues and stories from the blog with Nicole.

Marbella Now is on RTV on Thursday August 13 at 7.30pm.

Putting Food on the Table

Between 70 and 130 children a day in Marbella are benefiting  from the Junta de Andalucia's Solidaridad y Garantía Alimentaria programme that runs during the summer holidays.
The programme focusses on three groups. One is for children in groups that are deemed at risk of social exclusion, another for people on low incomes and a third is a home delivery service for those over 65 who are on low incomes and unable to visit their local social centres.
In Marbella the food distribution for children is organised by the Undebel Villela local association using the facililties of the Rafael Fernández-Mayoralas college. Marbella Councillor for Social Rights Victoria Morales visited the college to see the programme at work at first hand, going out with the association to buy food from local businesses and later help in preparing breakfast.
Morales explained that the programme will run throughout the summer and was open to all those that qualified for aid. The school canteens have fed up to 120 on one day, although the number is usually slightly less. On the day of the Councillor's visit, the centre provided breakfast for 75 children.

Freestyling Marbella Style!

The thrill and action of extreme motorsports and stunt driving comes to Marbella tonight with the return of the Freestyle show.

Edgar Torronteras, a pioneer of the sport in Spain, has assembled a team of some of the best riders in the country who will show off their outrageous tricks on FMX bikes, stunt-cars and even pit bikes at the Marbella Bullring.

Freestyle aims to deliver a show where adrenaline, speed, acrobatics and risk will thrill children and adults alike.

Tickets are available at the Bullring priced at €20 for adults and the show starts at 10pm



Horse makes good recovery

The horse that collapsed through heat exhaustion in the Albarizas area of Marbella is recovering well.

Despite rumours that the animal had died and that its death was being covered up by the authorites, the Guardia Civil unit responsible for environment protection (SEPRONA) has been caring for the animal at a Marbella shelter.

The dramatic pictures at over the weekend caused outrage among the public and lead to calls for the horse carriages to be immediately banned in Marbella, and an online petition was set up. Others want there to be stricter regulations, ensuring that the horses have enough shade, that they do not work during the hottest period of the day, and that there should be water troughs situated on Marbella's streets.

The horse's owner has sbeen charged with maltreatment of an animal and faces a fine of up to €30,000 and a custodial sentence.

At 3pm today, with the temperature in the high 30s, horse carriages were still  taking tourists, sitting under parasols,  on tours of the town.





Marbella sees Weekend of Bullfighting Protests

A weekend of peaceful protests against bullfighting ended in violence in Marbella's bullring on Sunday evening.

Two anti bullfighting protesters leapt into the ring after the death of the third bull, killed by Morante de la Puebla. A scuffle broke out as Morante and others involved in the corrida tackled the men.

Morante attacked protester Pedro Torres with a series of kicks that owed more to Bruce Lee movies than the bullfight. The protesters were detained by the police but later released.

The first protest took place on  Friday when 300 people gathered on the paseo to show opposition to the bullfights. The protesters included anti-bullfighting groups as well as representatives of animal shelter Triple A and others.

The anti-bullfighting protest group stated "We reject any kind of animal abuse that occurs in bullfighting in Marbella, where the animal is humiliated, tortured and butchered to death, drowned in his own blood.

"Marbella Town Hall has said that it has zero tolerance to animal abuse. Marbella is a modern cosmopolitan city, that has an international image and a huge variety of leisure options. There is no need for bullfights where animals are killed in public," they added, warning that it did not present a  good image of Marbella to the outside world.



Horrific horse heatwave collapse sparks outrage

The plight of horses working in the current heatwave was horrifically illustrated yesterday.

A horse pulling a tourist carriage collapsed through heat exhaustion in the Albarizas area of Marbella. Police, officers from the Guardia Civil unit responsible for environment protection (SEPRONA) and the fire service were quickly on the scene and treated the stricken animal by hosing it with water.

The horse was eventually taken to a shelter where photos were later posted showing that it had made a recovery, but the incident sparked outrage, with many calling for the horse carriages to be immediately banned in Marbella.

The carriages are a common sight at this time of year, with tourists using them for scenic tours of the town. Though the carriages may be brightly painted and well maintained, the treatment of the horses is often less than picturesque. They often have to stand, harnessed to the carriages, for hours at a time without shade.

The horse's owner has since been charged with maltreatment of an animal. Under Spanish Law anyone mistreating a domestic animal or causing death, injuries or physical impairments can be punished with a prison sentence ranging from three months to one year with subsequent disqualification from one to three years from any trade or business related to animals and other infractions can be sanctioned with fines from €75 -30,000.